May 06, 2020

Florida Canals Improve Water Quality

Sanibel, Florida is improving the water quality of its canals after not meeting criteria for algae

algae blooms

The City of Sanibel, Florida is improving the water quality of its canals with the Sanibel Clean Canals Program.

The city started the program with the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), which is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed.

According to Mark Thompson, who headed the project for SCCF, said the findings are concerning but typical for canals, reported NBC2.

Over 90% of the canals surveyed did not meet state water quality criteria for the amount of algae they have in them, Thompson said.

As far as the newly released initial report, SCCF collected and tested samples over the last year during both the wet and dry season, testing 35 different canals around Sanibel. Almost all of the canals also had high levels of nutrients, including phosphorus and nitrogen, which can contribute to harmful algae blooms. 

Thompson added that if people live on a canal, they will probably get algae blooms.

The program recommends best practices, including planting buffers along canal shorelines, proper irrigation and disposal of waste, according to NBC2. Sanibel residents are advised to follow the city's fertilizer ordinance.

While not the only source of excess nutrients in our local waters, reducing our personal contribution to pollution is an important step in improving water quality.

For those who fertilize, the ordinance requires the use of slow release nitrogen and low phosphorus fertilizers. From October 1st through June 30th, there are conditions apply to fertilizer use that must be followed.

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